by Jane Porter
Advocates on all sides will closely read the ruling, since U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, an appointee of President George W. Bush, will have to adhere to any precedents set by the appellate court, said Joshua Block, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Grimm.In even more news on HB 2, McCrory's claim that the bill doesn't take away rights from cities is patently false, and Connecticut and Chicago are using North Carolina's misfortune to poach its awesome businesses while the gettin's hot. The Rev. William Barber tells you why, as well as being anti-LGBT, HB 2 is also racist.
"One way or another, what happens in Gavin's case is likely going to set the rules of the road for how the North Carolina case proceeds," Block said.
Grimm alleges that school board policy requiring him to use girls' restrooms or a single-occupancy unisex bathroom available to all students violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in public schools. He also says the policy denies him equal protection rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The North Carolina suit raises similar claims, alleging that transgender people who haven't received a sex-change operation and changed their birth certificate can't access their preferred restrooms, and are therefore treated unequally from non-transgender people.
Since Grimm's trial judge has yet to decide constitutional issues, the appellate ruling will focus on the Title IX question and "won't provide guidance about the constitutionality of the North Carolina law," said Kevin Walsh, a University of Richmond expert in constitutional law.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a "statement of interest" in Grimm's case in July declaring that failure to allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identities amounts to sex discrimination under Title IX. In North Carolina, gay rights advocates warned that the new law puts billions of dollars in federal educational funding at risk.
DHHS will hold several more public hearings on its proposal, known as a waiver, across the state before it submits its application to the federal government June 1.
Medicaid covers 1.9 million people, mostly low-income children and their parents, the elderly and the disabled. It costs the state about $14 billion, with the federal government paying about two-thirds.
The legislature does not want to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Expansion would give about 300,000 to 500,000 low-income adults access to health insurance. There’s been a steady public push for expansion over the years, and several speakers at the Raleigh hearing, including doctors, health advocates, and one college student and mother, said expanding Medicaid should be part of the overhaul.
The federal government picks up all the costs of expansion for three years. After that, the state’s share rises over several years to 10 percent.
“Reform and expansion are complementary,” said Dr. Jonathan Kotch, a research professor in public health who was representing a group called Health Care for All.
Thousands of newly insured people with mental illnesses would be able to find treatment, said Dr. Marvin Swartz, who represented the NC Psychiatric Association.
Anticipating speakers’ emphasis on expansion, DHHS Secretary Rick Brajer said before comments started that expansion would be discussed with the federal government and the legislature.
“We’ll have the discussion,” he said. “Where we come out on it is where we come out on it.”